It’s been four months since Mike (Quick) Swick’s last fight, just a trickle in the sands of time compared to his previous layoff.
A painful stomach disorder and blown-out knee kept Swick out of action for 910 days then.
To put his absence in context, Swick missed 40 numbered UFC events before returning this summer to beat DaMarques Johnson. The man who was once just one win away from a welterweight title fight was missing in action for a long time.
After Paulo Thiago choked him unconscious on Feb. 6, 2010, at UFC 109, Swick was sidelined until Aug. 4, 2012, when he beat Johnson in the second round on a televised card.
“That was a proud moment,” he said of the comeback win.
Swick (15-4) returns to the cage next Saturday when he faces Matt (The Immortal) Brown on a televised card in Seattle.
Having survived the nerves and uncertainty of his comeback bout — and yet more surgery that followed — the 33-year-old Swick is looking forward to entering the cage in peak condition.
“All those (health) issues are packed up,” said the Texan who now calls San Jose home. “I feel like I went in there (against Johnson) and dealt with everything. I had success and got the victory. It’s going to be that much easier now, not having to deal with all that stuff that I had to deal with then.
“So it’s an easier path but I feel like a tough opponent and a good test. I think this is a fight that will kind of showcase where I belong in the division.”
Brown (17-11) is a hard-nosed fighter who has won three straight and four of his last five to improve his UFC record to 8-5.
The 31-year-old Brown is a gamer. He has gone to decision just four times in his career (winning two and losing two).
“He’s the kind of fighter that I’ve wanted to fight for a while,” said Swick. “Because he has never been knocked out, he’s one of those guys that is known for taking punches and just bulldozing through them.”
Swick, who says he has “always got reaction from my punches,” sees Brown’s chin as a good test to see how his striking stacks up.
Like Swick, Brown knows all about emerging from dark days.
Brown once overdosed on heroin. He has spent time behind bars and recalls getting “jacked up on meth” for underground fights back in the day before deciding to clean up his life and try MMA as a career.
His nickname “The Immortal” is more about surviving brushes with death outside the cage rather than for his fighting style.
Swick’s nickname Quick, meanwhile, came from a string of rapid finishes. His first two UFC fights lasted just 42 seconds in total. The next two lasted 2:09 and 2:19, respectively.
Despite his comeback win, it has not been all smooth sailing for Swick in recent months. After Johnson, he underwent knee and elbow surgery.
The knee surgery was linked to previous anterior cruciate ligament surgery.
“It never healed correctly so I never had full extension,” he explained. “Basically I didn’t have a quad for that whole (Johnson) training camp. So I couldn’t extend the knee, I couldn’t flex the quad and that was obviously a huge issue.”
“It worked enough to get through the motions of fighting,” he said of the Johnson win.
Immediately after the fight, a surgeon cleaned up scar tissue in his knee that was hampering his flexibility.
Swick has had three elbows surgeries, the results of too much mitt work in training, he says.
“The elbow just needed to be cleaned out,” he said.
Like “The Six Million Dollar Man,” Swick has been fixed more than a few times.
“I’ve had so many surgeries,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been rebuilt so many times.”
When the UFC called to offer up Brown, Swick said it was “sooner than I expected but there was no way I was going to turn it down.”
Swick has had to deal with more than bone chips and torn ligaments over the years.
After years of distress, he was diagnosed with a bad case of esophageal spasms — painful muscle contractions that affect the esophagus, which connects the throat to the stomach. The spasms can feel like severe chest pain.
After beating Canadian David Loiseau at UFC 63 in September 2006, he knew something was wrong and was cutting things out of his diet that were causing his body to react badly.
It started with him not being able to sleep. If he ate certain foods or ate late at night, he would experience painful spasms when he lay down.